The Browns brass officially introduced Kevin Stefanski as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns yesterday in Berea. As it does every time a new coach comes along, everything about Stefanski impressed in his introductory presser. He then doubled down on it with a great one on one with Browns Daily host Nathan Zegura. Everything you can think of when it comes to a previous presser was covered once again in Berea.
Production is Required
We all remember all the I am going to make players better, and we are going to be smart and tough cliches from all the other pressers. Thos were there. The “I am here to put the work in to bring this team back to the glory of the past.” We had the classic ” I am so proud to have a chance to coach a historic franchise.” As said above, all of the typical cliches were on display Tuesday.
Then came the phrase within all the others that caught my attention. When a question regarding how to handle the personalities on this team came up, Stefanski began with the “I am ok with personalities” and “every football team has those” typical responses. Then came a kind of simple phrase “Personality is welcome. Your production is required.” It wasn’t some mantra rah-rah comment made to hype people up. It was just a genuine comment from a coach who believes that to be expected. For Stefanski to be successful in Cleveland, that will need to be the backbone of his coaching philosophy. Production and winning go hand in hand.
Stefanski was asked about Baker Mayfield and if he has spoken with him yet. Surprise!!! he has spoken with him already. He also made a point to bring up Baker’s elite ball placement ability. Something Baker seemed to be hot and cold with last season. He explained that his job is to make the quarterback’s job as easy as possible. Saying it needs to be black and white for a quarterback because grey is where you tend to get in trouble. All of this was great and made complete sense from a coach. The single most significant phrase he used during his response was: “the sky’s the limit for the kid.”
Once again, Stefanski came off as just a coach talking about the kid playing quarterback that he is here to help improve. OBJ and Jarvis Landry are nice weapons to have, the running backs are great also, that kid at quarterback has a chance to be great. Nothing about this team came off in mannerisms or comments as revered or too big for the new head guy. This stoic low key demeanor will serve Stefanski well in a locker room full of huge personalities and explains why he was the runner up last year for the same job. Should any of this be unexpected for a guy who had Stephon Diggs, Adam Theilen, Dalvin Cook, and Kirk Cousins all in the same locker room?
Professional, No-Nonsense, and Somewhat Dull
Does any of the above matter when that first kick goes sailing through the air to start the 2020 season? No. Does it tell you what Stefanski will do when a crucial call or point of the game comes along? No. The press conference honestly tells us nothing when it comes to the X’s and O’s or the crucial decision making involved with game management.
What the presser shows fans are the kind of personality and man that the Browns hired. That is important in its own right because, as we saw last year, that translates to what happens on the field. Stefanski came off as professional, no-nonsense, and somewhat dull. A significant change from last year at this time. Will it equal wins? Nobody knows. It can’t be much worse than what took place last year, right?
Just Win Baby
Freddie Kitchens preached SuperBowls and the greatness of everything. We got “whoopty-hell” and the “if you don’t wear Brown and Orange, you don’t matter.” On the field, we ended up with undisciplined players and total confusion. We had speeches about execution and not coaching penalties. As fans, we were given the most talented 6-10 team in the NFL. The lovefest was over the minute the 2019 season began. I say this to say while Stekanski said all the right things and had a few great sound bites. In Cleveland, all we want is what the late great Al Davis coined long ago, “Just win Baby.” Here is to no more pressers for a while, Cleveland.
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